Vaccination certificate should no longer grant access to events: OMT member De Jong
Vaccination and recovery certificates should no longer be sufficient to grant access to events, virologist and member of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), Menno de Jong said in an interview with AT5. “Testing is always safer. Vaccination does not protect one hundred against infection. It works well against severe infection, but less so for a mild or asymptomatic infection.”
The Cabinet ordered discos and nightclubs to close their doors again on Friday after only being open for two weeks due to rapidly rising coronavirus infection number. In total, on Saturday more than ten thousand new infections were reported, more than 800 in Amsterdam alone. “I was shocked by this. Nobody expected such a big increase just two weeks after reopening”, De Jong said.
According to the virologist, nightlife might be able to start again in mid-August, although outdoor events have a better chance of going through given the smaller risk of infection. “For festivals, the access policy is also easier o regulate than in bars and nightclubs”, De Jong stated.
He advocated that only a negative coronavirus test should grant access to a festival or nightclub. “You can end up in a situation where people with a vaccination certificate and a mild infection enter a club and infect those not vaccinated.” From Tuesday onwards, only negative coronavirus tests completed in the past 24 hours will be valid, instead of 40 hours as is still the case.
The OMT-member was also worried that despite rising infections mainly concentrating among 18- to 25-year-olds, the spread could seep through to the vulnerable population. “Of course they have already been vaccinated, but there is also the delta variant against which the vaccine is less effective.”
The virologist said he was upset at Health Minister Hugo de Jonge’s 'dancing with Janssen' campaign. “I did get a little angry when I heard Hugo de Jonge say this. It is misleading information. A vaccine does not work like this”, De Jong said. The health minister allowed direct access to events after vaccination which meant many young people chose to get vaccinated with the one-shot Janssen vaccine. The decision was later reversed.
De Jong said he believes that the coronavirus situation can improve by mid-August if progress with the vaccination campaign continues. “The vaccine may be winning by then. I am hopeful that this exponential growth can be halted very quickly and figures will fall.”